The recruiting process for Tyler Cavanaugh has been going on seriously for a long time now, but as it nears its final months, things have started to pick up even more.
The 6-foot-8, 225-pound forward from Jamesville DeWitt High School in DeWitt, N.Y., is starting to receive interest from some major college programs. Earlier this month, Cavanaugh received an offer from Wake Forest to go with offers from Boston University, Davidson, Fairfield, George Washington, La Salle, Lehigh, Northeastern, Siena and UMass.
Cavanaugh also has been in contact with Mike Brey and Notre Dame this month.
“My AAU coach, Coach (Jim) Hart, is very connected,” Cavanaugh said. “He got my name in to Coach Brey. They saw me in Florida and at Peach Jam. They were impressed and contacted me in August.
“They want me to come down for the visit and they are very interested in me and look forward to me hopefully playing there someday.”
Cavanaugh will take that visit when he heads to South Bend for an official visit the weekend of Sept. 17th. “I’ll be there then. I’m really excited,” he said.
The Irish haven’t offered yet, but there’s a chance one could be delivered when Cavanaugh gets on campus.
Growing up in Syracuse, Cavanaugh is a fan of the Big East and is familiar with the Irish’s program.
“I love the way they play,” he said. “They’ve had great success. Coach Brey has done a great job there. They had a great year last year. I know they have a great football program, but their style of basketball play would suit how I play. They have a lot of good things going in the right direction.”
Cavanaugh averaged 16 points and 10 rebounds while shooting 80 percent from the free throw line and 40 percent from beyond the arc as Jamesville-DeWitt won its fourth straight state title. Cavanaugh has been a part of three of those championships and is looking to cap his high school career with a sweep.
He says Brey hasn’t indicated exactly what position he’d play at Notre Dame.
“Coach Brey is looking at me as a player, that’s what he tells me,” said Cavanaugh. “He loves my versatility, how I can play inside, outside, 3 or 4. I can shoot the three or take guys in the post. All of these coaches aren’t necessarily recruiting me for a position, but just as a basketball player using my high IQ and knowledge of the game to play the 3 or 4-spot.”
The weekend after his trip to Notre Dame, Cavanaugh will take an official visit to Wake Forest before making a trip to George Washington in October.
“The coaches at Wake Forest are very good,” he said. “Coach (Jeff) Bzdelik is very nice and he has a good pedigree from the places he’s been. I’m just looking forward to taking that visit.
“(George Washington head) coach (Mike) Lonerngan used to be at Vermont and they recruited me there. They were one of my first scholarship offers last summer after my sophomore year. They’ve been after me since they got to GW. I just really respected how they recruited me and they’re going to turn that program around.”
He also has plans to visit Davidson, but hasn’t set up a date yet.
“Coach (Bob) McKillop is a great guy,” Cavanaugh said of the Davidson coach. “He’s been after me for a while now. They offered me last April. I just like the way he’s recruited me and he’s been very intense and very upfront. He’s a great guy and he seems like he’d be a great coach.”
Cavanaugh isn’t sure about his fifth visit yet, but is considering Syracuse, Stanford and SMU for that final stop. He is also strongly considering Fairfield and Siena, two schools he's already visited.
He’s going to end up at a program with a solid mix of basketball and academics, but when he’s making a decision, he knows he’ll probably have to decide which other factors are most important to him.
“I want to have the opportunity to play,” he said. “I hope I get that chance, but I also want to challenge myself and play at the highest level.”
Cavanaugh would like to make a commitment before the start of his senior season, but won’t force it.
“I’m hoping to make a decision in November, but I’m not sure if I’m going to be able to pull the trigger before my senior season,” he said. “It would be great to play without not knowing where you’re going to go, but I’m not sure if I’m going to be able to do that.”